Communalism

UAE-Based Indians Face Legal Action for Islamophobic Remarks on Social Media

Under a law passed in 2015, all forms of religious and racial discrimination have been outlawed in the UAE.

New Delhi: Two Indian men based in the UAE are in legal trouble after posting Islamophobic messages on social media.

According to a report in Gulf News, an Indian financial manager at an Abu Dhabi-based firm could face legal action after he posted Islamophobic images saying that a “jihadi coronavirus suicide spitter” could “cause 2,000 deaths compared to 20 by a jihadi bomber detonating a belt rigged with explosives”.

The manager’s social media post was in reference to videos that were falsely claiming that members of the Islamic sect Tablighi Jamaat were spitting on police officials.

The man’s post prompted outrage on social media and lead to demands for his dismissal and arrest.

The legal representative of the man’s company told Gulf News that it had launched a probe into the matter and that it had a “zero-tolerance policy” for such content. “Strict legal action pursuant to UAE laws will be taken against the man if our investigation reveals that it was he who put up that post. He will be sacked,” the legal representative said.

Another incident took place a week before when an Indian job seeker was told to “Go back to Pakistan” by another Indian, who owns an event management company in the UAE. Shamshad Alam said that after he sent his CV on WhatsApp to S. Bhandari, he got a message back saying ‘Go back to Pakistan’.

Alam who has since filed a complaint with the Dubai police said, “When I confronted him, he abused me and threatened to report me to police,”

The WhatsApp conversation between the two is also being widely circulated on social media.

Also read: Kheer and Fear: Indian Diaspora Against Islamophobia

Under a law passed in 2015, all forms of religious and racial discrimination have been outlawed in the UAE.

The law prohibits all acts “that stoke religious hatred and/or which insult religion through any form of expression” including speech or through books, pamphlets or online media. The law aims to fight “discrimination against individuals or groups based on religion, caste, doctrine, race, color or ethnic origin.”

In 2017, an Indian employee at a UAE-based company was sacked for posting Islamophobic content on social media and sending abusive messages to Indian journalist Rana Ayyub.

In 2018, a man from Kerala was fired by a Gulf-based company after he posted insensitive comments on social media post regarding the 2018 floods in Kerala. The man who was an employee of the Lulu Group International, allegedly poked fun at the sanitary needs of flood victims in response to a Facebook post by volunteers appealing for help.

In 2019, a Dubai-based company had sacked an employee who had posted inappropriate remarks on social media about the March 15 terrorist attacks on two mosques in New Zealand.

The man, later identified as Rony Singh, in a social media post said the Christchurch attacks were a “happy day” and would “bring peace” to the “martyrs of Pulwama”. The man further said, “this (such attacks) should happen on every Friday during namaz in India also”. Transguard Group, the company that the man worked for said that the man “was terminated from our employment and handed over to the relevant authorities as per company policy and UAE Cybercrime Law”

Just last month, an Indian chef based in Dubai was fired after he abused a Delhi based woman online after she spoke against the recently enacted controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The man also threatened to rape her in a Facebook post. His comments prompted hundreds of people to call for his immediate arrest.